Tampa, Florida -- If you love your animal, you probably like to spend time with other animal lovers. That's one of the reasons why so many dog parks are popping up around the Bay area. They give dog owners a place to let their pets play leash-free and socialize with other animals. Owners get to socialize, too.
But one part of Tampa is dog park-free, unless a group of neighbors can change that.
Seminole Heights has always been a welcoming neighborhood, with old oak trees and historic bungalows. It's also welcoming to animals. But people who live in Seminole Heights have to travel miles away to enjoy a dog park -- to Curtis Hixon or Al Lopez parks.
Now there's a grassroots effort to turn a portion of Henry and Ola Park into a dog park.
"There will be an area for small dogs, there will be an area for large dogs," said organizer Maurice Rosas. "We're looking to have benches, water fountains, even make sure it's available for people in wheelchairs."
Dog park supporters have created a Facebook page to keep people informed about their efforts and started an online petition to show the City of Tampa they have the support needed to create the park. They're also making sure the city knows they hope to fund the project themselves through sponsorships and fundraisers.
"We want this to be a local, off-leash dog park," said Rosas. "And I think the fact that we're going to raise our own money to make it happen, I think that shows what community is all about."
A group of supporters meets on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. at the Henry and Ola Park, with their dogs, for a walk around the neighborhood.